Even though Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has set various guidelines for distribution of tickets, the party appears to have given them a go-by in Karnataka, which is going to polls on May 5.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi addresses the special plenary session of Confedration of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi. AFP photo
In his first speech after taking over as party vice-president in Jaipur, Rahul had touched upon the issue of anomaly in ticket distribution in the party, saying leaders from other parties parachute in just before the elections and fly away after getting defeated.
But this has fallen on deaf ears in Karnataka. The party has given tickets to those who came from the Janata Dal (Secular) of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda. Similarly, Shivaraj Tangadgi, who till recently was the agriculture co-operatives minister in the BJP government, has been given the ticket from Kanakagiri reserved constituency.
Rahul has always maintained that no person with a criminal background should be given party ticket, but candidates facing criminal cases such as DK Shivakumar, M Krishnappa and Satish Jarkiholi have been accommodated.
The party had this time also decided that it will not field candidates who had lost two previous elections with a margin of 15,000 votes and above. However, Basavaraja Rayaraddi, Kumar Bangarappa and Siddu Nyamagouda — whose defeat margin was much higher than 15,000 — have been considered.
Another guideline given a go-by is fielding kin of senior leaders. Former chief minister Dharam Singh’s son Ajay Singh, union minister Mallikarjun M Kharge’s son Priyank M Kharge, former minister CK Jaffer Sharief’s grandson Abdul Rahman Sharief and son-in-law Syed Yasin, Shamanur Shivashankarappa and his SS Mallikarjun, M Krishnappa and his son Priya Krishna have all been given tickets.
Contrary to assembly elections in other states, the Youth Congress failed to get its desired share. The youth wing had forwarded a list of 20 names but could manage only a few. Even state Youth Congress president Rizwan Arshad was denied a ticket, prompting him to offer his resignation from the post.
Rahul, a member of the Sonia Gandhi-headed central election committee that finalises the list of candidates, did not attend any of its meetings on Karnataka.